The king's cousin

One day a young man came to a certain king and said, "Please, please appoint me to a high post. I am the cousin of the neighbouring king, who is a good friend of yours. This particular king always speaks highly of you. Therefore, I would like to serve you."

The king appointed him to an important post in his army. The man did a very good job, and the king was quite pleased.

In a few years' time it happened that the neighbouring king invited this particular king to come to his palace. Of course, the king accepted the invitation and asked the young man to accompany him. The young man, who by then had a very high post, became very frightened. He knew that he would be caught because he was not really the other king's cousin.

On the day the king was to leave, the high-ranking officer fell at his feet and started crying. The king said, "You are a military man. What are you doing?"

The man said, "Forgive me. I am not the cousin of that other king. I cannot go there."

The king said, "No, you have to go! Everybody respects you and thinks that you belong to a royal family because I gave you such an important post. Now I have to prove to everybody that you really do belong to a royal family. Since you are not the other king's cousin, you have to become a member of my family. You have to get married to a member of the royal family and become my son-in-law." In this way the king saved the officer's reputation.